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Saints in Roman times and the Middle Ages had great stories attached to them. Here are some of my favourite food patron saints.

Saint Lawrence was a Deacon of Rome in 258, a time when Christians were not really venerated in the eternal city. He made the mistake of distributing riches to the poor. This attracted the attention of the Roman emperor, who ordered him to hand over those riches to him. Lawrence, who was actively looking for martyrdom, presented some beggars, crippled, orphans etc., to the emperor, saying that these were the greatest treasures of the Church. This pissed off the emperor just a tiny bit, so he decided to kill Lawrence by grilling him above some nice hot charcoal. After being grilled for a while Saint Lawrence was nicely burned, but had one last witty remark in store: “This side is nicely burned, you can now turn me over and then eat.”

This judicious culinary remark makes him, ironically, the patron saint of cooks and broilers.

Saint Corentin of Quimper was one of the founding saints of Brittany. He used to live as a hermit, and while these days in France being a hermit makes you an antisocial freak, in those days it helped you become the first bishop of Quimper. While a hermit, he used to eat fish every day, thanks to a miraculously self-generating fish that appeared to him daily in a fountain. He used to cut off a small bit and then release the fish; it would regrow and come back the next day.

Obviously that makes him the patron saint of seafood.

Saint Fortunat and Sainte Radegonde. Fortunat was a poet and a bon vivant, who ended up becoming the chaplain of Radegonde’s monastery. She used to cook food for him, and he praised her cooking in his poems. He is known to have said, “There is no more sincere love, than the love of good food.” Now that remark is only a sin if stating the obvious is a sin.

Saint Fortunat and Sainte Radegonde are the patron saints of gastronomes, probably absolving them of their over-joyous love of good food and life.

The patron saint of cheesemongers is Saint Uguzon. He was a shepherd in Italy who used to happily give away his cheese to less fortunate people. Unfortunately his boss saw this as an annoying anti-capitalist habit and killed him. Bosses are harder to please than God sometimes.

My patron saint conclusion is that Our Lord Cheesus wants you to share, loves life and food, and has a sense of humour even in tough times!

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